Travel News > March 2010 > Foreign Office gives British drivers abroad 60-minute warning

Foreign Office gives British drivers abroad 60-minute warning

30/03/2010

The Foreign Office is warning British drivers that they are most at risk of having an accident an hour after arriving in a foreign country.

It is urging holidaymakers to bone up on local rules of the road and make sure of their fitness to drive before getting behind the wheel on unfamiliar territory.

The Foreign Office commissioned Professor Geoff Beattie of Manchester University to research risks for drivers abroad and he found the greatest dangers were fatigue and grappling with unfamiliar rented vehicles.

These often lead to drivers motoring on the wrong side of the road and failing to anticipate oncoming traffic.

Professor Beattie's research showed that these factors peak at the 60-minute point, when drivers are most likely to be tired, less alert and yet still unfamiliar with their surroundings. They may have started to relax, even though they won't have fully adjusted to local driving conditions.

Professor Beattie said: People are usually in a happy-go-lucky holiday mood when they hire a car or moped abroad but what they really need to consider is that the chances of having an accident and getting injured really are increased by rushing onto the roads.

"Our brains need time to adjust to a number of factors for even routine tasks such as driving so this research should be food for thought for anyone planning to drive abroad and especially those planning to ride mopeds or motorbikes which have an even greater risk of accident."

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